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PRYAL, Katie Rose Guest

Special Issue 2010, 40:5, pages 479 - 501

The Genre of the Mood Memoir and the Ethos of Psychiatric Disability

Abstract:  Recent rhetorical accounts of mental illness tend to suggest that psychiatric disability limits rhetorical participation. This paper extends that research by examining how one group of the psychiatrically disabled—those diagnosed with mood disorders—is using a particular narrative genre to engender participation, what I call the mood memoir. I argue here that mood memoirs can be read as narrative-based responses to the rhetorical exclusion suffered by the psychiatrically disabled. This study employs narrative and genre theory to reveal mood memoirists’ tactics for generating ethos in the face of the stigma of mental illness.

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